Latinos urged to read to children

Latino community urged to read to kids at early age
By ROEL GARCIA, The Holland Sentinel, Apr 19, 2009

Tony Castillo knows and believes in the importance of education at an early age.

He impresses upon his daughter to read to his 2-year-old grandson.

“I tell her, ‘Are you reading to him?’” said Castillo, owner of several Holland-area McDonald’s restaurants.

When he visited his daughter, Castillo saw his grandson sitting on her lap, listening and repeating words as he was being read to.

Castillo is assisting the cause to help Latino families get an early start in reading by using his restaurants as drop-off locations for books to give away to parents during Fiesta on May 1 and 2.

BOOK DROP-OFF LOCATIONS:

• McDonald’s restaurant, 657 E. Eighth St.
• McDonald’s restaurant, 213 N. River. Ave.
• McDonald’s restaurant, 12645 Riley St.
• Western Theological Seminary, 101 E. 13th St.

Latin Americans United for Progress’ theme for the event is Educate Now for a Better Tomorrow. Several groups will work at the event at the Holland Civic Center to inform Latino families of the importance of starting to read to children at an early age.

“It’s a very deliberate effort on our part to engage with the Latino and migrant communities,” said Jan Shangle, Great Start coordinator for Ottawa County.

Shangle’s group and others like Ready for School and InterCare will have a reading nook set up at the north building of the Civic Center where they will pass out books and also have someone reading books to children.

To help make this happen bins have been set up at the McDonald’s on Riley Street, North River Avenue and Eighth Street and at the Western Theological Seminary. New and gently used books in English, bilingual or Spanish will be accepted.

The groups will share information with parents and talk to them about the importance of reading to a child from birth.

Castillo agrees with this philosophy. The former educator attended a workshop where it was pointed out that education is from birth to death.

“We are to be lifelong learners. That struck me. We should always be learning,” Castillo said.

For information about dropping off books or questions about books, e-mail Shangle at jshangle@oaisd.

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